Have you ever been young and stupid?
Boy, howdy have I. A thousand years ago, I was convinced I was unlovable. I had an associate who was a romance novel fanatic and all her machinations about the wonderful world of love made it worse. I convinced myself that I would find love.
What I found was the opposite. It was, in essence, hate.
I wasn’t the object of hate but was the outlet for it.
In the course of that ‘relationship’, I determined that I was unlovable — after all, how could someone treat me this way otherwise? Beaten, berated, bruised, belittled — daily.
But, for the most part, that’s no secret. Those close to me and even some folks not so close know that part of my life story. I share it when I think it will help someone in similar straits know that he or she is not alone, that many of us have fallen prey to a lack of belief in ourselves and have found ourselves in the grip of the self-hatred of another.
Yet, there is more to the story.
It is an ugly underbelly that I keep secret. I think there have been two people who know, both of them held close to my soul. One is no longer in the land of the living, having carried the secret to the Great Beyond. Both have held the tears and pain of that secret close to their hearts, for which I am eternally grateful.
It will remain a secret because I am afraid that if I tell it, you will give me that look of disdain as if you’ve never made a terrible, awful, dangerous, horrid choice in the heat of a moment where you hung between the light and the darkness.
I was there and out of fear, chose darkness.
I suppose it remains such a painful secret because it is the source of my own self-hatred, a piece of the past that is my thorn (St. Paul wrote about having a thorn … I suppose therefore I am in good company), a thing that gives my swag a little bit of a lag, my smile a little bit of sadness.
But like so many secrets, the pain of it becomes lighter with each passing century, particularly in the telling.
If you are one I hold close to my soul, ask me if you want to know. I will most likely question you and hope you will take a vow not to give me that look of disdain when I look to the floor and (probably with tears) tell you the whole story.
I’ve learned that I am lovable and if I open that part of my heart and reveal the secret I just pray you won’t love me any less.
For #16 on the Selfish Somethingist list – something secret …